Police and Kerala state Minority commission have registered separate cases against seven Navy personnel in connection with an alleged assault of a priest over a dispute on ownership of a landed property. Cases have been registered against the Naval officials under IPC section 325 (punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt), police said.
The priest, Father Hippolittas Kattikad, of Stella Mary’s monastery at Ponnarimangalam in Ernakulam district, claimed he was attacked on September 17 by a group captain and six others when he tried to question them for their presence in the property as the matter was before the High Court. The priest is presently undergoing treatment at a private hospital here.
According to Naval sources, about 1.53 acres near the monastery is in the navy’s possession and at least 3 years ago when a compound wall was being built, objections were raised by the church stating it was a leased land. The matter is pending before the High Court which has ordered status quo.
Meanwhile, the navy said it was conducting a detailed investigation into the incident.
The Navy said in a statement that the priest tried to prevent its personnel from undertaking a mock rescue and relief drill wherein a helicopter was required to land and the area was being prepared by a contingent of naval personnel sent for the purpose.
While the exercise was in progress, a person, who refused to identify himself turned up and objected to the activity. The officer-in charge advised him to either report the objection to Naval higher-ups or the police, and requested him not to prevent from carrying out bonafide naval activity.
The statment said the person however chose to disregard all explanation and started interfering the activities of the Naval personnel and taking photographs of sensitive communication equipment. This led to the officer-in -charge restraining him from taking further photographs in consonance with The Official Secrets Act.
Naval police as well as civil police were informed and the matter was amicably resolved after the sensitive photographs were deleted from the camera by police.
The following day naval police officials had another meeting with the said Priest in the office of the Assistant Commissioner of Police wherein the matter was agreed to be closed, the statement said.
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